Thursday, August 28, 2008

This Column is about Columns...and Democrats and Republicans

The Latinteach blog usually doesn't mention politics, but the politicians are now talking about the Greeks and Romans, so...

John McCain's official website has recently posted a video (link no longer available) in which Fox News Channel commentators criticize Barack Obama and the Democratic National Convention for erecting "Roman" columns at Invesco field in Denver. Rush Limbaugh also criticizes the set on his website, although he identifies the columns as Greek. He also likens Barack Obama to a Greek god -- in an attempt to stereotype him as an elitist. points out, succinctly, that the columns are no doubt intended to evoke the image of the Lincoln Memorial and Martin Luther King.

At any rate, take a look at the set where George W. Bush made his acceptance speech in 2004 at that year's Republican National Convention, courtesy of

By the way, for those of you who love Classical Rhetoric, did you catch the antimetabole (similar to chiasmus) in President Clinton's speech this evening? Antimetabole and chiasmus are two similar types of interlocking word order.

"People the world over have always been more impressed by the
power of our example than by the example of our power."

(Visit Silva Rhetoricae, the Forest of Rhetoric, to find out more about the ways orators use the power of word arrangement to artfully craft their speeches.)

Image of actual Roman columns courtesy of Vroma -- where you can find many more pictures of both Greek and Roman columns!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Save the Latin Program in Avon, Massachussetts!

Avon School District (Avon, Massachussetts) needs to hire a full-time Latin teacher or the program will be discontinued!

Read Lack of Latin Teacher Means No Latin for Avon Students.

Ecce Romani et Ecce Roma!

An announcement arrived today from the Ecce Romani folks!

"Plan to be a part of the next tour designed just for teachers, historians, and all those interested in the ancient Roman world – July 2-11, 2009. The itinerary is based on the textbook series ‘Ecce Romani’ and will follow the Cornelii family from the Bay of Naples to Rome, visiting major places of interest. Whether or not you use ‘Ecce’, this trip is a chance for in-depth learning, and an opportunity to preview places that you might like to revisit with your own student group. Of special interest to AP teachers will be visits to Cumae, the Phlegraean Fields and Lake Avernus. Complete details and full schedule can be found at

Patsy Ricks of Inside Italy Tours, and Caroline Switzer Kelly, Ecce teacher and author/consultant of Ecce Romani 2009 will be your guides. College Credit and CEUs will be available.

COST: $2980 – includes all travel and admissions in Italy; all meals in Campania; all breakfasts in Rome. (This price does not include airfare to and from Italy, transport to and from the Rome airport and single supplements. It is based on the current dollar-euro exchange rate and 15 participants.)

If you have further questions email Caroline at caroline.kelly [at]"

You can find out more about the new Ecce Romani, 4th edition at Pearson Education.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Now I Know My Latin!

In most modern language classes, one of the first lessons is how to pronounce the letters of the alphabet. Most teachers teach an alphabet song, much like the English alphabet song most of us learned as children.


W-X-Y-and Z!
Now I know my A, B, Cs,
Next time won't you sing with me.

Here are a few versions taught by Latin teachers...

(Posted with the permission of the authors.)

Jacque Myer's Latin Alphabet Song

Jacque has written her own variation on the English a-b-c song...The tune is basically the same, but the "line" divisions are a little different:

a, be, ce,
de, e, ef
ge, ha, i, ka
el, em, en, o, pe
cu, er, es,
te, u, ix
upsilon, ze-e-ta

Dennis M. McHenry II's Latin Alphabet Song

Dennis' alphabet song goes like the traditional English alphabet song (but without the pauses that normally follow g, p, s, v, x, & z):

a, be, ce, de, e, ef, ge, ha,
i, ka, el, em, en, o, pe, qu,

er, es, te, u, ix, y graeca,
zeta: haec sunt elementa.

quae possumus recitare,
visne nobiscum cantare?

Dennis reports that, "My students at all levels loved it, which surprised me."

He goes on to describe the Elementa.

"...the letters of the alphabet, the elements of the language, and I've worked in a question, a relative clause, some infinitives, cum with a personal pronoun ... what more could you want? I had all of my students learn the song and reproduce it on a test, which nearly every one found to be an easy way to earn some points."

"If it seems like a mouthful without the usual pauses, you can have kids trade off lines by gender, by seating arrangements, by legions, etc."

Ginny Lindzey's Alphabet Song (To the Tune of "The Barney Song")
Also available from The Latin Zone.

(CAPS for long vowels)

A, bE, cE
dE, E, ef
gE hA I

kA el em en

O-pE-cU (fast) er es tE

U et ypsIlon

zEta now our song is done

Robert Patrick offers 2 alternative endings for Ginny's Lindzey's song:

...zEta carmen factum.


zEta carmen factum'st.

Robert suggests really punching the "st" for fun. (Factum'st is a contraction for factum est.)

Laura Higley's alternative ending for Ginny Lindzey's song:

zeta. carmen nostrum iam.

Laura's ending almost makes it rhyme.

Enjoy your singing. Cantate!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Test Your Classics Knowledge

The UK Telegraph has a new feature -- Homework for Grown Ups! Test your knowledge of the Classics in this week's installment!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

What the Ancient Greeks Have To Teach Us About Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

A fascinating story from Yahoo! News, about the relevance of the works of Sophocles and other Greek tragedians to today's world, specifically the psychic wounds of war and post traumatic stress disorder. Read Greek Tragedies Offer Modern Lessons on War's Pain.

The epic poet Homer (composer of the Iliad and Odyssey) also has some wisdom about combat stress. Listen to MacArthur fellowship winner, Dr. Jonathan Shay, of the Department of Veteran's Affairs Outpatient Clinic in Boston, relate the Odyssey to today's OIF (Iraq) veterans on a 2007 NPR radiocast.

Image of Odysseus returning to Penelope courtesy of the Vroma Image Archive

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Minimus is Coming to the US!

Barbara Bell, author of the highly praised Minimus series, is coming to the U.S.! Minimus, as you all know, is the mouse who made Latin cool!

Barbara's visit is tentatively scheduled July 13-27. 2009.

Events will include an "Online Webinar" from the offices of Cambridge University Press in New York. It will solve the problem of having to gather the teachers in a physical spot and will open the event to a nationwide audience. Teachers can, whether they are on vacation or not, log on at a certain time on a given day. Of course, Cambridge and and MinimUS will announce the webinar date and time when all is finalized.

In addition, Barbara will spend a few days in Pittsburgh and hold a workshop for teachers, an event for children, and possibly participate in celebrations being held to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the American Classical League's Excellence Through Classics Committee, which has done so much to promote Classics for elementary and middle-school students.

Then, she'll head to the Baltimore area to hold another teacher-training event and a children's Minimus celebration (perhaps in a local museum). She also has a huge following among homeschoolers in this area and will probably be feted one evening! A very busy two weeks...

If you'd like to find out more information, contact Latin teacher Ruth Ann Besse at rabesse17 [at] Ruth Anne teaches Latin at a Catholic high school in Laurel, MD, as well as to homeschooling students and has done a great deal to promote Latin, the Classics, and of course, Minimus, including editing MinimUS, a newsletter for American teachers of the series.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Loafing with Latin: Afterschooling the Classics

Recently from the

Tom Hodgkinson and his son discover the "absolute genius" of the Cambridge Latin Course as they embark on an "afterschooling" adventure with Caecilius, Metella, Quintus, Grumio and the rest of the lot in Pompeii. This is why reading-based courses are so wonderful. When they are done well -- and the Cambridge Latin Course really is written quite brilliantly -- students (and teachers) want to keep on reading! There is real motivation for learning the forms and syntax!

My favorite line in the whole piece: "I was speaking Latin after two pages."

Read The Idle Parent...

Afterschooling: Supplementing your child's traditional school education by providing educational opportunities in the home.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Render Unto Caesar, That Which is Caesar's...

Dexter Hoyos passes along the word that there is a new website dedicated to telling the life of Julius Caesar through coins. Designed and maintained by the Australian Centre for Ancient Numismatic Studies at Macquarie University, Sydney, The Coinage of Julius Caesar is a unique biographical look at the his life, accomplishments, and legacy. There are numerous high quality clickable photographs of coins and viewers can examine both obverse and reverse images via a mouseover. Major highlights include the early career of Julius Caesar, the Gallic and Civil Wars, portraits of Caesar, as well as the influence of the first Caesar upon the coinage of his successors.

A bibliography, glossary and reference catalogue accompany the main site.

This is a particularly interesting site for anyone reading Caesar's De Bello Gallico or De Bello Civili, as well as students of Roman history or ancient numismatics (the study of coins.)

Friday, August 08, 2008

Call for Latin Teacher Presenters: NECTFL Conference

The Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (NECTFL) is a multi-level, multi-language conference of national stature held each year in the spring, generally in New York City. In 2009, the conference will take place April 16-18 at the Marriott Marquis overlooking Times Square on Boardway. The theme is "Engaging Communities."

NECTFL puts out a call for proposals every year in January with a May 15 deadline. A Program Committee of its Board of Directors reads all proposals and selects the best for presentation at the following year's conference (in March or April). The purpose of the conference is to provide outstanding professional development for teachers of language and culture, so selection criteria reflect that priority.

Occasionally, NECTFL finds that it does not have a sufficient number of sessions to attract teachers of a given language or level of instruction. Although the conference is too small to provide sessions in all languages and levels during each of its ten time slots on Friday and Saturday, NECTFL tries to have good representation for the languages that are dominant in the northeastern U.S. and has been quite successful in convincing teachers of Latin to attend the conference and to present sessions. A session on Latin by Ashley Broseker-Tremper was chosen as "Best of NECTFL" last year and sent on to the 2007 ACTFL Conference in San Antonio!

Nonetheless, NECTFL needs to recruit several more presenters for 2009 to ensure a rich, full program of offerings for teachers of Latin at all levels of instruction.

To that end, NECTFL invites Latin teachers to consider submitting a proposal.

Sessions are 75 minutes in length and focus on one of the following categories:

* articulation
* assessment/testing
* communities/workplace
* connections/comparisons
* culture/literature
* curriculum
* diversity
* instructional strategies
* materials
* policy/issues
* professional development
* research
* technology

Sessions may be intended for any level of instruction from prekindergarten through adult/government language schools. They may be presented in English with Latin (and possibly other target languages) providing examples to illustrate. Conference attendees are seeking either a very lively presentation or a hands-on, interactive experience. Attendees do not sign up in advance for sessions, so it is difficult to predict exactly how many will come to any given session, but NECTFL avoids scheduling two sessions during the same time slot on any language with relatively few offerings, specifically to ensure that every attendee who teaches that language will probably go to the one available session. (Of course, some sessions do not focus on any particular language, and there will also have an exhibit hall with a large number of companies promoting materials and services that attendees love to visit.)

NECTFL is a small non-profit, so unfortunately presenters must cover their own expenses and must pay the preregistration fee of $150. NECTFL also charges a nominal fee for certain AV items and technology services to help us defray the very high hotel costs for those items. Presenters choose the equipment they need by checking boxes on the proposal form.

The online proposal form is at

NECTFL encourages Latin teachers to have a look and to contact the executive director if you have any questions. If you do decide to submit a proposal, please do so as soon as possible so it can be publicized, in order to encourage more attendance by teachers of Latin.

The point of contact for NECTFL's Northeast Conference is Rebecca R. Kline, Ph.D. Executive Director, Northeast Conference at Dickinson College, Carlisle PA 17013. The website address is:

Monday, August 04, 2008

Second Free Webinar Planned: Latin for the New Millennium

On Thursday, August 7, 2008, at 3:00pm EDT, Bolchazy-Carducci will be presenting a second free Webinar focusing on their new, introductory two year series, Latin for the New Millennium. Series editor LeaAnn Osburn will review the textbooks, teachers' manuals and other ancillary materials, as well as take questions from the attendees. Attendance will be capped at 30 participants.

All you need to participate is high speed internet access, a speaker phone and an access code which will be provided in an electronic invitation sent one day prior to the webinar, containing a link and login information. Contact Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers for further information.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Latin Lives -- in New York City!

Latin is alive and flourishing in New York City, but there is a continued need for certified teachers in the Big Apple, according to Professor Ronnie Ancona, a Latin and Classics professor at Hunter College in Manhattan. This weekend's Staten Island Advance reports that "the market for Latin is very strong in the New York City area."

(Link no longer active): Latin Undergoing a Resurgence Among Students: 'Resquiescat in pace' (rest in peace) no longer seems an appropriate dismissal.

Friday, August 01, 2008

2009 Dickinson College Latin Workshops

Start planning now for next year!

What: Dickinson Latin Workshop: Roman Myth
When: Saturday, February 21, 2009, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Where: Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pennsylvania, USA
Speaker: Stephen Heyworth, Fellow and Tutor in Classics, Wadham College, Oxford University

Details: Prof. Heyworth is an authority on Latin poetry, especially Propertius and Ovid. He is currently working on Ovid's Fasti, and will share his thoughts on Roman myth in a three hour workshop, with ample time for questions and discussion. Lunch will be provided. The workshop is intended for teachers of Latin, but please pass this along to teachers of other subjects who might be interested.

The workshop is free of charge, but pre-registration is required so that materials can be sent in advance. For directions and pre-registration, please contact Mrs. Barbara McDonald by email before February 1, 2009:

What: Summer Latin Workshop at Dickinson College
When: July 12-17, 2009
Where: Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pennsylvania, USA
Application Deadline: May 1, 2009
Tuition: $300 (due June 1, 2009)

Daily schedule will involve group translation and discussion of Cicero's De Re Publica.

For more information visit

Classical Mythology & More and the Medusa Mythology Exam Webinar

Mon., August 4 - 2:00 p.m. EST (1 p.m. CST): “Classical Mythology & More and the Medusa Mythology Exam,” Marianthe Colakis, Townsend Harris High School. Cost $99.

This webinar aims to generate discussion among teachers on preparing students for national examinations in mythology and the ways in which Classical Mythology & More can help. This book paraphrases the original sources as much as possible, keeping editorial comment and embellishment to a minimum. It offers short answer exercises for self-testing recall of names and events, and more thought-provoking questions to encourage deeper reflection. This webinar will also discuss the purpose of studying myths in secondary school and consider the ways they can still tell us about ourselves.

If you are a junior high or high school teacher, check with your school, district, or state department of education prior to enrolling to ensure you will qualify for credits towards professional development. In many states, these webinars may be treated like professional conferences.

Visit Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers for more information.